Part Of The Journey Is The End

There was an idea…called The Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to fight the battles we never could. – Nick Fury The Avengers

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The MCU is in incredible piece of pop art. Unlike anything that came before it, and unlikely to ever be duplicated. (Many have tried and failed.) The brainchild of a genius producer, ushered in by some talented directors and held together for good or ill, by the charisma of that group of remarkable people.

Avengers: Endgame is the payoff. When Avengers: Infinity war ended, with Thanos “watching the sun rise over a grateful universe.” (Universe is actually less than grateful but he’s nuts.) breath was held and we waited. How would our team, our guys, all of whom were left behind after this rapture, handle this?

They fight, of course. They save the world. That’s what they do. And then they rest. As a critic, it’s hard to come at a movie that has this much to  get done, gets it done (mostly) and also manages to be a hell of a lot of fun, a showcase for the three men and one woman who were basically holding this whole endeavor on their good looking charismatic backs. (And a few other people who were backing them up.)

Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, are incredible performers who have given Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, Steve Rogers and Thor Odinson life and joy and heart, and here they get to pay off ten or so years of work. They are all excellent. (Especially Johansson, Nat’s had a journey y’all.)

Endgame is good. It’s very good. As close to perfect as it could be, from a critical standpoint. And from a fan standpoint, it is perfect.

Rankings:

  1. Avengers: Endgame

Trailers

Aladdin:
Kristi: It’s that soon?
Me: Meh, at least there’s no white people in it.
Aless: That is literally the only thing it has going for it though.

The Long Shot:
I will see it. I’m here for President Charlize.

Gemini Man:
Guys, Will Smith is back. I think we should all be happy about that.

Hobbs & Shaw:
Hot damn, I cannot wait for this. The only thing that upsets me is that it appears Shaw will not be brought to justice for Han’s death. Which is kind of a bummer. But the new trailer does have both Statham and Johnson saying “family” like sixteen times. So you know F&F….

Toy Story 4:
It really does look breathtaking doesn’t it? Even if it feels a little like the plot is a retread of 2. 

And from here on out, beyond that cut, we’re into spoiler land. I AM WARNING YOU.

I’M TOTALLY SERIOUS. SPOILERS HEREEEEEE

Continue reading

Ready For Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming & Thor: Ragnorok

My God is this a killer double feature. I think I’d watch either of these movies at any given moment, if I’m honest. During my Disney Year, Homecoming was frequently my in flight entertainment, and while I’m sure you all remember that I wasn’t nuts about Ragnarok when I first watched it, it’s really grown on me a lot on rewatch.

But my god, the more I revisit it the more I think Spider-Man: Homecoming is my favorite MCU movie. It’s breathtakingly good. LONG (they all get really long post Avengers, it’s kind of a drag.) But never feels it. Michael Keaton is astonishing as The Vulture. Tom Holland is a revelation as Peter Parker. Robert Downey Jr. transfers Tony to mentor on the sidelines with great aplomb and if you weren’t all in on Zendaya by the end of this movie I think you might not have a soul.

I’d be tempted to say that it is the greatest Spider-Man movie ever made, except that Into The Spider-Verse now exists. It was definitely the best Spider-Man movie made up until this year though, I’ll give it that.

Like Iron Man 3 Homecoming exemplafies the “dress another genre up in a super suit” idea, with Peter’s teenage problems and the high school setting driving the action. Peter wants to prove himself, he wants to be an adult, but he’s not there yet.  He’s still a kid, a good, smart, responsible kid, but a kid. So he makes decision that are sometimes misguided.

Once again, I suggest someone lock him in a room and he never go to space, ever, EVER.

(NOT OK)

Ragnarok, ah Ragnarok. Such a beautiful and funny and wonderful film. Full of goodness, and joy and bright light and great jokes, and Mark Ruffalo’s best performance in the series, and Thor and Loki feels, and Tessa Thompson riding a pegasus into battle, and Led Zepplin songs all topped with some Cate Blanchett whipped cream and a Jeff Goldblum cherry on top.

So much digital ink has been spilled praising Ragnarok, that it seems redundant, but my God, it’s worth talking about more. The Colonialism themes, the heartfelt realization that the Thor we met back in Thor has finally grown worthy of his place as Asgard’s king and leader. Chris Hemsworth’s considerable comedy chops. Jeff Goldblum. It’s just all so good, and so watchable.

That’s something, that as I’ve moved through this project that I’ve come to really appreciate about 90% of these movies, is their watchability, and their rewatchability. There’s so much to pick up on. They action sequences are exhillerating and the characters fun to spend time with. (I say 90%, because my estimation, The Dark World and Doctor Strange do not fall in this watchable category. One is unconscionably boring and the other is actively bad.)

But this is a category where both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok shine. I still get actively tense when Vulture is driving Peter and Liz to the homecoming dance. My heart dances when Peter goes to the bathroom and Happy’s waiting for him. And the chills that run down my spine when “Immigrant Song” starts as Thor and his friends charge Hela on the Rainbrow Bridge can’t be underestimated.

These are just some entertaining ass movies.

Next week we are also entertained and ponder social change in cinema with Black Panther.

Note: My inititial Captain Marvel review will hit tomorrow. You guys, it’s really stinking good.

Ready For Endgame: Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Last weekend when I watched Molly’s Game I tweeted the below:

If Molly’s Game is the Sorink-iest movie to ever Sorkin, Avengers: Age Of Ultron might be the Whedon-iest Movie to ever Whedon. I’ve long linked the two in my head. They’re both TV Titans, theater dorks, and overfully pleased with their own cleverness.

I also happen to be a big fan of both of them.

There’s a moment in “Once More With Feeling,” the musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where Buffy stops the Scooby’s theorizing about their foe with a simple, “I’ve got a theory, it doesn’t matter.” Her point becomes that as long as they’re all together, they’ll prevail. They do. Of course they do.

Nick Fury delivers a similar speech to The Avengers as they sit around Hawkeye’s kitchen table halfway through Age Of Ultron, then Vision and Cap do the same about a half hour later. Ultron is also full of grey villains who switch sides (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), excellent team work, and a deus ex machina of an ending predicated on, “the true avenging was the friends we made along the way!” tropes.

So, yeah, there’s a lot to like here if you’re a Joss Whedon fan. Which I am.

But there’s also a lot to dislike, if you’re a fan of the MCU, which I also am. There’s a pretty steady stream of fans who insist that Whedon “doesn’t get,” Captain America and Thor, and I don’t think that’s it. Neither of them behave out of character in Ultron, but I do think that Whedon isn’t interested in them, particularly.

He is interested in Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, so the movie focuses on them. And, he’s interested, as he always is, in the normal guy who dances with gods. There’s a reason why Xander Harris and Winifred Berkle and Wash are so well fleshed and beloved by the fanbases (Well, maybe not Xander, people have kind of turned on him…) it’s because Whedon’s enamored of that guy.

So Hawkeye gets some real stand out moments, where as Thor and Cap fall a little bit more flat here than they did in The Avengers. Tony, meanwhile, is at his most insufferable here. Truly, it’s astounding how arrogant and misguided he is. But, as always Robert Downey Jr. sells it. I happen to not totally hate the Banne/Natasha pairing, it’s not great but again, it hinges on the performances, ScarJo and Mark Ruffalo do well.

The problem is, I don’t know that Joss Whedon belongs in film, even film that is essentially long form TV like the MCU. If Age Of Ultron were a season finale, the fact that two cast members get basically side lined would be mostly OK. Not great, but OK. But this is an ensemble movie, and two main characters, especially one who was coming off of a huge shift in status quo, like Steve was, and needed strong direction in the first place, like Thor, not having any kind of arc, is problematic.

So yes, the movie has some big problems. But the stuff that works, really, really works. James Spader’s voice performance as Ultron is a hoot. The big action pieces are a excellent. The birth of Vision is a lovely piece of sci-fi whackiness, and my God, that “when you step out that door, you’re an Avenger,” moment is a heart string tug.

But it’s a mess. And Whedon’s gone on record saying he wasn’t interested in playing ball with the Infinity stones storyline, which I think also contributes to Thor’s sidelining. And honestly, watching the movie, you see what it could have been if he’d had his way. It probably would have been quite different. But his reach exceeded his grasp. I joked last week that I think the movie broke his brain.

Whedon took a long break after Ultron, and listen, it’s not like it was unearned. But I think he also knew that he whiffed it, and he needed to regroup. He didn’t get what he wanted and the work was subpar, for him, for the sandbox he was playing in. It’s far from his worst work. (There are some clunky ass episodes of Buffy and Angel and ya know, Dollhouse exists.) It’s also far from his best. Joe and Anthony Russo take it from here, and they do it really, really well.

Next week, things come back to Earth, for a little while, at least. Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War come due, and once again, we’ve got two movies that I like a lot. Especially Ant-Man. (Also, really, except for Dark World there aren’t any MCU movies that I dislike. And even that, I more nothing than hate.)

Ready For Endgame: Iron Man 3 And Thor: The Dark World

I love Shane Black’s movies. I love that he gets action the way that very few people do. (Similar to how I feel about Nora Ephron and romantic comedy, frankly.) I love Lethal Weapon, The Good Guys and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, especially Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Iron Man 3 is the clearest example, in my opinion of the Phase 2 “different genres dressed in superhero suits” idea. (Dark World is a fantasy melodrama, Guardians a space opera, Winter Soldier a political thriller, Ant-Man a heist) This is an 80’s style throwback action movie, and a really good one at that.

Iron Man 3 is just so much goddamned fun, that I really can’t fault even the parts that I’m not crazy about. They are few and far between but include pretty much everything about Vice President Mel Ferrer (RIP) being in on the Mandarin’s/AIM’s plans for reasons? I guess the HYDRA reveal wasn’t set up yet, but I’ve retconned it into this movie, because it’s the only thing that connects that wrinkle to anything. I am otherwise completely delighted by this movie. Pepper running Stark Corp. Happy being obsessed with Downton Abbey. Rhodey’s rebranding. Tony not caring for Rhodey’s rebranding. The kid. All of it. I love this movie.

I went in ready to not love it as much, but nope. I love it. It’s great. Robert Downey Jr. is great in is. Guy Pearce is great in it. Gwyneth Paltrow is not as good as she was previously in this role, but still good. Ben Kingsley is FUGGEDAHBOUTIT brilliant in this movie. I have no criticisms. I think this is one of those things that I love so much I can’t find fault with it.

As much as I love Iron Man 3, I am indifferent to Thor: The Dark World, my god, is this a dull movie. It’s so dull that I forgot to review it when I saw it back in the first movie season. Seriously, it has some great moments, anything with Loki, pretty much, the planning of the escape run from Asgard, and Hemsworth really looks great. (The bathing scene, swoon.) But yeah, it’s not a good movie, it’s overstuffed, overly important and such a disappointing follow up to Thor, which I really do like a lot.

It’s kind of remarkable that the first two official sequels in the MCU are such let downs. Obviously the next part 2 is probably the best entry in the entire series, (My love for Winter Soldier is clearly documented.) And that’s where we’re headed next week. We pick up with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy and I don’t think there’s a stronger pairing in the lineup I have planned here.

Hooray!

PS: Last night’s Super Bowl trailers were pretty cool. “Some people move on, but we don’t,” is a statement that’s both dark and inspirational, very Cap. Also, Higher Further Faster, baby!

Ready For Endgame: The Avengers

I remember when I first saw The Avengers I was underwhelmed. I’ve come to love it, really, but just, in that moment, I’d seen it all before. In my review of the movie, I laid out the ways director and writer Joss Whedon was playing his usual song in a new key here.

I understand that Cap relaying the battle plan was exciting and new to other people, but I’d seen Buffy do that six times. The iconic hero pose circle shot, which is wonderful was a more cinematic version of Angel’s “Let’s Go To Work,” final moment. (This single greatest end shot of a TV show ever.) Tony’s change of heart to fight the good fight alongside his friends had been handled by Mal Reynolds before.

So, while the novelty of The Avengers was lost on me, it’s that very profitability, the excellent execution of a formula I’m fond of, that’s made it hold up over the years, and my god, does it hold up.

The action is exciting, the team coming together, or not, is fabulous, the one liners delightful, and that final battle, is the stuff of legend.

But we’re not going to talk about that. I mean, we have. In the past. When I’ve written about The Avengers. Today, I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about Phil Coulson.

Phil Coulson was created for The MCU, meant to be a one off quick way to introduce SHIELD in Iron Man, he really took off when Jon Favreau liked working with Clark Gregg. Gregg was a long time Marvel fanboy and took the job at his wife’s (Jennifer Grey. They are my favorite C-List celebrity couple!) urging, saying when else was he going to get a job like this?  I’m a big fan of Gregg’s, because he’s in the Aaron Sorkin Repertory Company, and I’m convinced it’s that experience that convinced Whedon to make him the lynch pin here. The, “you lack conviction,” speech is straight out of the West Wing playbook. (Frankly, part of what I’ve always loved about Whedon is that he’s like Sorkin, but uses magic in his stories instead of patriotism.)

I was one of those people who was wrecked by Coulson’s death. All Whedon fans have their one that they’ll never forgiven him for. And I’ve gotten emotional over others. (I’m not made of stone, the phrase, “I am a leaf on the wind,” makes me gasp sadly. I too wish we had lived to see Winifred Berkle avenged, and Anya’s death in Xander’s arms is a real heartbreaker)  But Coulson is mine. (Yes he came back! But that took a while!)

Anyway,  Coulson, who’d already had some standout moments in the previous movies, really shines here before his death at Loki’s hands. His familiar banter with Pepper (I love that they were pals. Seriously.), his giddiness at Cap, his familiarity with Thor, it’s all of it hitting just the right notes.

I miss Phil Coulson. I mean, as much as anyone can miss a character that never really went anywhere, but I sort of fell out on Agents Of SHIELD a few years ago, I might catch up someday, but I have so many superhero shows to watch, and not all of them shitty WB relics or luke warm adaptations of my favorite comics characters either.

The Avengers is a stunning acheivement in franchise storytelling. What comes directly after is uh…less essential. Next week, we take on Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. One is a delightful action movie throwback that I love, the other, I got kinda bored and watched a bunch of Lonely Island Videos in the middle of.  Guess which is which!

Ready For Endgame: Thor And Captain America: The First Avenger

There are certain movies that are very hard for me to separate from the first time I saw them. These are usually because of the people I saw them with, or because I saw them as a kid. But with Thor and  Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s really because of timing.

People might not remember that these movies came out within months of each other, when The Avengers was a certainty but still a whisper. And everyone was still scoffing at them. “Right, like a Thor movie is going to work.” And because I was getting ready to finish my English Lit degree, I even added, “what is Kenneth Branagh doing?” (The film nerd in me was less skeptical about Joe Johnston because I’d grown up with The Rocketeer, and that the guy who made that was making a Captain America movie made perfect sense to me.)

But there’s something about these movies and the way that they act as a doorway for the MCU and the fact that they came out the summer I finished college that feels kind of perfect to me. There’s of course my epic, “Glen literally pulled Chrissy and me out of a bar at the end of a bar crawl to go see it,” Thor story. He was pissed as hell, because we hadn’t told him we were going on the crawl, his words, “I’d have gotten tickets for tomorrow if I’d known this was your plan.” Of course our very cogent response was, “PFFFF, we’re not that drunk! Let’s get pretzels, and HOLY SHIT THAT IS ONE HOT MAN RIGHT THERE ON THE MOVIE SCREEN!” I told this story in my toast at their wedding. I left out the hot man parts. The fact that these two people are parents now brings me such joy.

Captain America, I saw with my friend Lisa, which was the first time we’d hung out since graduation. I then saw it like 5 more times, because I wasn’t really working that summer, so had a bunch of spare time. It was what cemented Cap as my Marvel Guy. (At the time Batman was still my DC guy. I hadn’t fully fallen for Dick yet.) And whenever I go back and look at Phase 1, I realize it’s still the movie that I’ve watched the most. (Iron Man is close behind, btw.)

Anyway, my personal experience of these films aside, they’re both solid, and deeply enjoyable. Thor especially, is a treat. I think people tend to forget how charming it is. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are all in on Thor and Loki from their first moments on screen, and while it’s small scale is probably because no one was sure if this whole thing was going to work, it’s in the movie’s favor that it gets a quiet intimate scene where Thor explains the nine realms to Jane on a rooftop, or Thor and Selvig getting drunk together, or Sif, Loki and The Warriors Three sitting beside a fire discussing Thor’s banishment. Branagh uses his Shakespearian ear perfectly in these scenes, letting them breath and the actors relish in their ridiculous dialog, and melodramatic plots.

 The MCU in general is a miracle of casting but Captain America: The First Avenger might be the most clean example of this. Everyone in this movie is pitch perfect for it’s throwback tone. None more so than Hayley Atwell and Chris Evans though. Dear lord are they magical. Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers might be the only two love interests I’ve ever cosplayed BOTH of, because I love them both so much. (Having cut my hair again, I might bring Peggy back this year…) But seriously, there’s so much about this movie that’s absolutely right, that I have trouble not smiling.

I’ve written literally thousands of words about The MCU, and it’s hard to explain though, that the reason is because of these two movies and the people I was hanging out with at the time being so excited for them. I seriously doubt I’d have gone to see them in the theater if it weren’t for these folks, which is why it’s very hard for me to separate the movies themselves, which are great, by the way, from the experience of watching them for the first time. So I fail as a critic in this essay, because I’m too attached. (Also, if I’m frank, I watched them on a Saturday afternoon and I’ve had some wine, and I’m a little buzzy. Blogging is all about honesty right?)

Next week we talk about The Avengers, which, if you’ll recall was the first movie I ever reviewed here on The Fangirl’s Dilemma, and that was 10 years ago and that is disgusting. 

I Bet You’re Wondering How Thor Got In This Cage

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I think I’m in a minority here, so you’re about to hear a rant.

greatly enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok. I thought it was a well made, wonderfully paced movie with some stellar performances and more than a few surprise tricks up it’s sleeve. Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchet were sublime additions to the cast. (Though I missed Natalie Portman and Jamie Alexander, not to mention Kat Dennings.) Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are fantastic as Thor and Loki, embodying these characters as they always have from minute 1. Jeff Goldblum is a delight. Idris Elba and Mark Ruffalo kill it.

Here’s what I didn’t love. I get that Guardian of The Galaxy was a colossal monster of a hit, and very unexpected, I get that Marvel Studios has never quite known how to pitch a Thor movie. Saying, “let’s make it as much like Guardians as possible,” though? I’m not sure that worked either.

The “jokey jokes” didn’t always land for me, especially in a series that I always felt had some excellent comedy in it. (The scene in the first movie where Thor demands a dog or cat big enough to ride ALONE cements there was always humor here.) The comedy that did work for me were things like Hulk claiming Thor is “Banner’s friend” rather than his. Loki’s discomfort at being in the vicinity of Hulk, as well as Thor’s test of throwing things at his brother to determine if he had corporeal form.

The larger intergalactic plot, of Thor on Sarac, while fun and cool, didn’t engage me the way that the Asgard stuff (Odin’s death, Hela’s invasion, Heimdall evacuating the city) did. That’s always been where the stuff I liked about Thor lived though. (Well, and in his relationship with Jane, which, I get, was a necessary casualty here, because Natalie Portman, the human being, didn’t want to be in the movie.)

Doesn’t mean I didn’t love Valkyrie (Seriously, Tessa Thompson ROCKS HARD!) or most of the big action set pieces. Or our requisite shirtless Hemsworth scene. I really liked it. Marvel doesn’t make bad movies, I just don’t think this one was as drop dead awesome as the rest of the internet does.

Still really good though.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Battle Of The Sexes
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  7. Thor: Ragnarok
  8. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  9. The Dark Tower
  10. Cars 3
  11. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: First time seeing it on the big screen and OMG YOU GUYS! We’re so close, and it’s going to be awesome.

Black Panther: Do you wanna know what’s nice? Ryan Coogler found space for Michael B. Jordan in this movie. (Did we think he wouldn’t?) I’m not sure how to articulate how excited I am for this movie, because it’s deep in my gut.

12 Strong: Siggghhhh, I mean, I love this cast, so, there’s that. Fun that Michael Shannon gets to play a good guy. I may see it.

Movie Season, Moving Forward:

Here’s the deal y’all! I know I’ve been slack this year, it’s for a lot of reasons, but I’ve started a new day job! (This is an invariably GOOD thing. Trust me!) And I’ve got a Disney trip in just over a week! (WEE!) But, the good news is that the new day job is a lot closer to my apartment and pays me more money, so I’ll be able to close out movie season fairly strong, as the Oscar-bait movies come out. (There’s also a small independent theater walking distance from my apartment, so…yeah…)

Aless and I are trying to figure out what we’re doing for Justice League, as I’m leaving for Disney the morning after opening. We may delay by a whole week. (This is WEIRD for us, but you know, it’s DC, we didn’t even do Suicide Squad together…) Coco will for sure happen, and we’ve already got our Star Wars tickets.

 

“I’ve Come Here To Bargain”

There was never much of a chance that Doctor Strange was going to be my favorite Marvel movie. Honestly, I liked it fine, but it’s just not really in my wheel house. I got what they were going for, and I appreciate the doors it opens for the MCU, but in general the movie didn’t quite do it for me.

Benedict Cumberbatch does a great job bringing Stephen Strange to life. He’s all arrogance and sarcastic quips and quiet power. It works. I’m not a huge fan of him as an actor. (I don’t like Sherlock and I would rate his work in The Fifth Estate as “adequate”) But I like what he does here. Benedect Wong is straight up great as, well, Wong, and Chiowetel Edgiofor is amazing as he always is. Tilda Swinton does a good job with the ethereal Ancient One, even if the white washing of this role is completely inexplicable.

It also does something that no other MCU movie has done, which is bring Benjamin Bratt in. So, I give it points for that. (I love Benjamin Bratt) Also Rachel McAdams is pretty good. And I’m really happy that magic is real in the MCU now.

Also, I’m sorry this review is so late. (I saw the movie on Thursday) formulating my thoughts has not been super easy.

POST CREDITS!

The first scene features Dr. Strange and Thor discussing, well, I’m assuming the plot to Thor: Ragnarok, but I can’t be sure. I assume that this will all dovetail together in Infinity War. 

The second one features the birth of a new villain, which I assume will, once again, become a thing in Infinity War.

Rankings (Update, I totally forgot to do this yesterday…I have NaNo brain)

  1. The Nice Guys
  2. Don’t Think Twice
  3. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  4. Queen of Katwe
  5. Pete’s Dragon
  6. Ghostbusters
  7. Captain America: Civil War
  8. Kubo And The Two Strings
  9. Star Trek Beyond
  10. The Magnificent 7
  11. Doctor Strange
  12. X-Men: Apocalypse
  13. The Legend Of Tarzan
  14. Suicide Squad
  15. Finding Dory
  16. Independence Day: Resurgence
  17. Alice Through The Looking Glass

Trailers

Logan: OMG, OMG, it looks so good. It just, it looks SO GOOD. And X-23! I want Laura more than anything else in the

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2: It just, it needs to come, and it needs to come now. We require Star Lord now more than ever.

Rogue One: It’s so close, and yet so far. You know?

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: SQUUUEEEEEEEE!!!!

 

City of Brotherly Fun

I spent a lot of time going back and forth deciding whether to go to Wizard World Philadelphia this year.

But then Beth (who lived in the apartment with me and Juli) was going. And then Kristi wanted to go. And somehow I ended up there. I also ended up with a new cosplay, meeting Anthony Mackie, chatting with more people than I had at a con in a while and doing a tequila shot. (A dude bought it for me, and then he promptly left. Kristi and I were quite put out by this. When a girl accepts a shot from you, the social contract says you have to at the very least chat awkwardly with her for a half hour. RUDE!)

Anyway, this is turning out to be a con season to remember (in that it’s actually a con season…) and it may have a sea bound finale that we can only dream of.

I owe so much of that to Kristi. It’s hard to describe exactly how amazing becoming better friends with her this past year has been, and what exactly shifted in our relationship. I guess it’s just the proximity thing…with three family weddings in the past year, we spent a lot of time together. But however it happened, I’m glad it has. (Also her insistence that we’d be friends if we’d met under different circumstances.)

Anyway, the show, I missed the Captain America panel due to me being unable to navigate on streets I am unfamiliar with. But I did catch the Thor and Agent Carter groups, which was pretty significantly cool. Especially the Agent Carter stuff as Haley Atwell and Dominic Cooper are all goofy british charm. (Tom Hiddleston is also that, but it doesn’t bounce as well off of Chris Hemsworth’s broish Aussie thing, that I completely adore…)

The cosplays went well, although the discomfort caused by my attempts at curling my hair were in vain, since by the time I got inside the 87% humidity had flatted my super straight hair. (The twists still worked, and another Peggy recommended a hairspray I should use…so in October, I should be better…)

Anyway, I know this is a lame write up, but I was completely overwhelmed. I haven’t been to a big con in a while, and there’s a lot to take in. Especially since I was only there two days, both of them being weekends I felt very overwhelmed. But I did have a great time.

Next up is Heroes And Villains Fanfest! That’ll also be fun!

 

“Specimen”: Beauitful Men, The MCU and Female Fantasy

As I try to grow as a woman and a feminist and a writer, one of the things that I’ve been trying to pay some attention to is gendered language. I read an essay a while back that talked about the way that we discuss women’s looks verse the way we talk about men’s. Words like “beautiful” as opposed to words like “handsome.” Because of this I’ve tried really hard to use specific words when it comes to describing someone’s attractiveness whenever possible.

And lately I’ve been thinking about men who I describe as beautiful.

Not all the men I find myself attracted to would fit this descriptor. I’d say even a traditionally attractive man, like say, George Clooney is still more handsome than beautiful. The Boston Boys, as I’ve called them many time (Wahlberg, Affleck and Damon) also fit that bill. But I do kind of have a thing for pretty boys.

Specifically here, I want to talk about The MCU, though and how those men, in particular are just, beautiful. It’s a specific brand of gorgeous, they just glow, and while they’re certainly representing a male power fantasy, as nearly all superheroes do, there’s something feminine in the fantasy of these men. One of my very first posts here was about how The Avengers presents archetypes for several different fantasies for those so inclined.

Obviously, “The Chrises” are the best example of this Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and later Chris Pratt are all beautiful, if in a simple specific, WASPY way, but when you place them as Captain America, Thor and Star Lord, you’re creating three specific types, The All American Good Boy, The God and The Roguish Man Child. They are specific fantasies.

What got me thinking about this recently was of course Civil War, but specifically Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther in Civil War. I knew from 42 that Boseman was a good looking guy, but as I watched him on the big screen as T’Challa, I grabbed Aless’s arm and gasped, “He’s just so beautiful!” (Her response, a nice little pat and “yeah, hon, I know, but…movie…” Aless is a much more rational human than I am.)

black-panther-chadwick-boseman

Sooo, beautiful….

So what does this have to do with feminism? Well, allowing for female sexual fantasy is a big part feminism, and allowing men to be seen as aesthetically beautiful is also a good gender parity thing. But I’m not the first person to talk about the female gaze and the Marvel movies, but it’s an important aspect that I think doesn’t get talked about enough. But I talk about this a lot in my everyday life and now I want to talk about it here too.

Because I think talking about beautiful men is important. And also fun. So that’s, that. YAY!